Coppin State's defensive work too much for Buffalo, 69-52

January 10, 1993|By Jeff Siedel 44TC | Jeff Siedel 44TC,Contributing Writer

The defense of Coppin State proved downright offensive to the University of Buffalo last night.

Coppin State used a swarming man-to-man defense to pressure Buffalo and Tariq Saunders scored 17 to lead the Eagles to their second straight victory, a 69-52 decision last night at the Coppin Center.

Coppin State players stayed in its opponents' faces most of the night. The Bulls, who could not find open shots very often, shot only 30 percent (17 of 56) from the field.

"I thought the first half was one of our better halves of defense," said Coppin State coach Fang Mitchell. "We've been working hard on our man-to-man. It's just getting better and better and better."

Buffalo turned the ball over 21 times and rarely got into its offense. The Bulls struggled all night with passing, finishing with only one assist.

Coppin State (4-6) also did a good job on the three leading scorers from Buffalo (2-10). Kelvin Brown (12 points), Devon Chambers (13 points) and Lou Johnson (five points) combined to hit only 11 of 32 from the field.

The Eagles started stopping Buffalo right from the opening tip. ,, The Bulls scored just one basket in the first 11 minutes, missed 11 of their first 12 shots and hit only five of 26 in the first half that ended with Coppin State on top, 38-19.

"They made us go five of 26," said Buffalo coach Dan Bazzani. "Their defensive pressure, no question, was the difference."

Mitchell cited Saunders (eight rebounds) and Michael Thomas for strong defense. Thomas scored eight points and blocked five shots and altered several others in his 29 minutes. He also had 12 rebounds.

Coppin State used runs of 11-0 and 10-0 to break the game open. The 10-point stretch gave the Eagles a 32-16 lead late in the half after Buffalo had showed signs of rallying.

The Eagles then held Bulls without a basket for 10:40, from late in the first half into the second.

Coppin State benefited from a balanced offense. Ten Coppin players scored, three in double figures. Kyle Locke scored 14 points and Stephen Stewart added 10.

Coppin State, however, was unable to land the knockout punch. A Locke three-pointer 55 seconds into the second half gave the Eagles a 41-21 lead.

But Buffalo wouldn't quit and the Bulls crept back to within 12 twice. The Bulls had a chance to cut the lead to 10, but turned the ball over twice, and Locke made a layup for a 55-41 lead.

Mitchell was a little unhappy after the game with his team's defensive play in the final minutes. Buffalo scored 11 points in

the last five minutes to make the score close.

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